LGBT+ History Month is an annual month-long observance in February of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history and has now been extended to celebrate many other sexualities and gender identities, as well as the history of the gay rights.
Megan Ainsworth is currently a student living in Sheffield and she shared her views of being a Queer woman living in Sheffield.
When asked, how safe she felt as a queer person in Sheffield, Megan said: “I feel like this is hard for me to say: I identify as bisexual and i am currently in a relationship with a cisgender man.
“Therefore, a lot of people just presume I am heterosexual, so I don’t necessarily experience what other members of the ‘Queer’ community experience. Also, it is hard to speak for Sheffield as a whole. My experience in Sheffield has mainly been from a university perspective and in that sense I feel extremely safe and I am in societies that are dominated by members of the LGBTQ+ community who make up the majority of membership.”
She then shared her thought on why it is important for LGBTQ+ have safe spaces and communities, Megan said: “In a society that favours heterosexuality and cis-gendered people, it is important for LGBTQ+ members to have a place where they feel safe and heard, where they can come for support and also advice when they need it.
“Also, even though society appears to be more ‘accepting’ of our community, it remains very uncomfortable at times to truly be yourself without fear of judgement and abuse. I still remember seeing the news article of two gay women being beaten up on a bus for refusing to kiss each other, and that is terrifying.”
Mellissa Milsom James, also a member of the LGBTQ+ community, said: “I think it’s important because it allows the LGBTQ+ community to come together and celebrate being themselves while acknowledging the past (and current) struggles people in the community experience. It’s more than a month with a label on it, it allows people to feel appreciated and accepted whether that be in wider social situations, at home or even amongst friends.”
Events in Sheffield have been and will be on honouring queer history and the importance of art in the struggle towards justice.